If only the MILF was the only group in the PI. An article was posted a few days ago detailing Saudi funding for terror in the PI. In a separate report this morning, Abu Sayyef kidnapped a couple of village officials. This situation bears watching.A good bet would guess that Shariah is on its way soon after the vote…
hat tip-Christopher H.
Philippines eyes plebiscite to okay Muslim homeland
17 Jul 2008 10:57:58 GMT
(Repeats to additional subscribers) (Recasts with plebiscite planned for ancestral areas)
By Manny Mogato
MANILA, July 17 (Reuters) – The Philippines will hold a plebiscite early next year in more than 700 southern villages to set up an ancestral homeland for Muslims, part of a deal with the country’s biggest rebel group, officials said on Thursday.
Hermogenes Esperon, the president’s peace adviser, told reporters the proposed Muslim homeland would also be empowered to collect about 75 percent of taxes from oil, mines and fisheries in the area.
He was speaking in Manila a day after government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) negotiators hammered out a deal in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.
“The government has agreed to grant broader political, social and economic power to the Muslims based on a deal we have reached with the rebels in Malaysia,” Esperon said, adding everything that was agreed was within the country’s constitution.
“The final political solution will still be negotiated, and, if needed, we will amend the constitution to reflect what was agreed upon with the rebels. It appears we’re creating a federal system, but that is not what we have now in our constitution.”
The deal would expand the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), an area in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines that was carved out in an agreement with another Muslim rebel group, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Esperon said he could not reveal the full details of the deal with the MILF due to the confidentiality of the negotiations, but said it went beyond the earlier agreement with the MNLF.
He said the government and the MILF were due to meet in Kuala Lumpur on July 24 to finalise the draft agreement and fix the date for the formal signing of the deal on ancestral domain, which was likely within a few months.
“We promised to deliver a plebiscite within six months after the signing of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain,” Esperon, a former military chief, told a news conference.
TOO EARLY TO CELEBRATE
The landmark deal was welcomed, but analysts and residents in the south said more needed to be done. Fundamental issues, such as the right of Muslims to self-determination, remained unresolved, they said.
They said the agreement did not guarantee the end of a near 40-year conflict that has killed 120,000 people and displaced 2 million on the resource-rich southern island of Mindanao.
The two sides have been observing a ceasefire since 2003, although tensions sometimes erupt into fighting.
“It’s definitely a positive development, giving the peace process a big push forward,” Benedicto Bacani, executive director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance at the Notre Dame University, told Reuters.
“But, there are still a lot of issues to be resolved. I don’t really think a final deal could be sealed under this government.” (Reporting by Manny Mogato; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Alex Richardson